Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tot School

As Spring faded into Summer I found that Christopher and I were bored. He was acting up too much, melting down too often, I let him watch one too many episodes of Dora and we were still struggling with potty training. After receiving some really good advice from my sister-in-law Laura and her sister Caroline (a.k.a. 2p), I began what I will hence forth call "Tot School". Basically, I create fun, inexpensive activities for Christopher. I change it up everyday, so he never gets bored. In fact, he begs me to do "activities" before I am even ready for the day. I get most of my ideas from Carisa's "Tot School" Blog. www.1plus1plus1equals1.com
Our days run a bit more structured and go something like this:
**Give Lilly her morning nap
**While Lilly naps we do Tot School. I lay out three trays, each with their own theme (cutting, gluing, sorting, pouring, lacing, etc) which I put together the night before. I supervise from the kitchen as I tidy up breakfast. This way he is as independent as possible, but I am still within reach to avoid complete disaster. When he is finished one tray, he puts all related materials on said tray and returns it to the shelf. Then he can move to the next tray. This has helped tremendously with neatness and his sense of order, as well as obedience. When trays are exhausted, I put them away. I have a closet full of random goodies to keep this Tot School interesting.
**Then we go about the morning as usual, sometimes heading out when Lilly wakes up.
**After a 1pm nap, I usually have another activity set up, like music, painting or just playing in the pool.
**Before you know it, its dinner and bed time.
What I have noticed since starting this routine is a much happier, more independent Christopher. He has been going potty all by himself, without many, if any, reminders. He hasn't had an accident in 3 weeks! This in and of itself is HUGE! He hasn't had any time outs. He is listening the first time I speak to him. There is alot less whining. He is just a pleasure to be around. I also bought him a stool so he can wash his own hands, and help at the kitchen counter. I have also labeled his dresser drawers with pictures of their contents. Now he can dress himself every morning. Which he does wonderfully, even if his underwear is on backwards 50% of the time!
Christopher counts using 1:1 correspondence. Each time he counts a butterfly, he covers it up with a foam shape. The cards were in a Hungry Caterpillar tot pack I made.

First time using "tweezers" as he likes to call them. He really liked this activity. The muffin tin gives him a place to put each pom-pom.

Second time using scissors. He could cut all day long. I am surprised at how good he is so early.

Looking at another tot pack. He likes these packets for about 15 minutes, then he moves on. The fan folded strip on the right side of picture asks to color each character and he followed the directions. Its the most he has colored in a long time.

First official time using scissors. We made a picture by cutting out different shapes. He loved this. He is still displaying the picture randomly throughout the day.


  1. Good job Katie. Like adults, children also desire to have a sense of purpose. Love you and your little busy bee.

  2. Ooooh, I'm lovin' this post. Great work! I need to get back on the tot school bandwagon. I've been focussing so much on homeschooling Sean that I haven't had the energy to make more than one or two new activities a week for Pea. Thanks for posting about all this...I think we should all follow your example for our toddlers.